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Feelings of loss and sadness are a part of being human and most of us know that feelings don’t last forever. Regardless of the source of our sadness, brighter days are always on the way. But there are millions of adults who do or will experience longer periods of sadness that may need medical treatment in order to recover.
What is major depression?
The medical definition of a major depressive episode comes from the DSM-5, aka the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental disorders which describes it as: 

A period of at least two weeks when a person experienced a depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities, and had a majority of specified symptoms, such as problems with sleep, eating, energy, concentration, or self-worth.

Medically diagnosed depression can also come in the form of persistent depressive disorder which is less severe than major depression but typically lasts for two years or longer. It can also occur during or after pregnancy (perinatal or postpartum depression), or with a change in seasons typically in late fall and early winter (seasonal affective disorder).

Nevertheless, when you’re feeling so sad you can’t see your way out of it, the origins of your depression aren’t so important. Seeking help for it is important. If you are in need of help, reach out to one of the free online or text counseling services below. You do not need to be experiencing a specific symptom. These services are available to talk you through any kind of distress, concern, or worry. Your chat will be confidential with a trained volunteer.

Free Help You Can Get Online Now

Free Help You Can Get Via Text Now

  • Crisis Text Line: Text HELLO to 741741. (The first two responses will be automated.)
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness: Text HELLO to 62640.  (M – F 10 am ­– 10 pm ET.)

Free Counseling Services Referrals

  • DRK Beauty Healing offers an online directory of free and subsidized talk therapy for women and non-binary people of color. Do a search of clinicians in your state at DRK Beauty Online.

Additional Mental Health Self-Care
If you are not in crisis, but are looking for something to help you day-to-day, we like these free online resources and mobile apps.

  • Visit Calm free resources for meditative sounds, bedtime stories, and workbooks.
  • Raise a Finch on your mobile device with the Finch app. In the free version of this app, you hatch a finch and help it grow by meeting self-care goals, tracking your moods, and practicing breathing techniques.

And remember, no matter what you’re feeling, it’s always okay to ask for help. In fact, it’s a good idea! The best way to manage our burdens is by sharing them.

If you are in crisis and need to talk with someone urgently, please call: 988.